The question is sometimes asked “What is the proper frame-of-mind in which to approach a tarot reading?” Should one meditate, pray, “clear” or otherwise center in the moment? Is it OK to be a little bit “high?” Must one be thoroughly rested and mentally fresh? Does it help to use candles, incense, crystals or other props to set the mood? The pat answer is “Do whatever makes you feel good about the reading.” But I would like to dig a little deeper into the subject.
I will generally read the cards in any state of mind except when I’m too tired or too high (no drugs but I like an occasional tipple). My belief is that the cards communicate with the sitter’s subconscious, not directly with mine unless I’m reading for myself. As long as I’m sharp enough to decipher the interplay between the cards on the table and fashion a coherent narrative out of them, it’s “Game on!” On the other hand, I would be reluctant to read for a sitter who is obviously too wasted, too distraught or too distracted to appreciate the subtler nuances of my observations. What they’re putting into the effort could very well be distorted by their emotional disarray, so I wouldn’t have confidence in the results and I certainly wouldn’t feel good about taking their money.
I’ve had sitters who have approached one of these limits, some of whom I expected to break down and cry at any moment. But getting them to focus calmly on the testimony in the cards prevented a meltdown. This is where my predominantly analytical approach to reading serves me well, when a more emotionally-charged viewpoint might only add fuel to the fire. By getting my clients to recognize that they are in charge of the reading and are responsible for the cards that appear, I encourage their sober engagement in the “story” and steer them away from their fixation on the more distressing aspects of the matter. I don’t have a lot of patience with people who only want confirmation of the source of their misery so they can more thoroughly wallow in it. My idea of a good reading is one that provides constructive guidance for escaping such conditions, not one that merely substantiates them. I would much rather hear my sitters say “Yes, I see, that makes sense” and not “I knew it!”